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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

27 March 2012

Airbus A400M - A First in the Americas: An Interview

After the Airbus A400M landed yesterday, it was greeted by an official FIDAE delegation. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY had the opportunity to talk to Gustavo Garcia, Vice-President Market Development Airbus Military about the future of the airplane.

Gustavo Garcia, Vice-President Market Development Airbus Military (Photo: Airbus)

A First in Every Way
This visit is a first in every way. No only is the A400M MSN2's first trip to South America, but it is the first trip to the Americas, the first trip across the Atlantic. The airlifter will stay at FIDAE until Wednesday morning, when it will take off at 10:00h and fly to Bolivia for “Hot & High” tests flights; 3,700 test flying hours are planed for the upcoming months.

Possible Upgrades
Airbus Military is already looking at possible upgrades for the future. Especially the engine seems to have growth capabilities, for example for a longer range, according to Gustavo Garcia. The civil certification will be reached this April, IOC is planned for June and FOC in two years from now. Starting this May, each customer will get an aircraft for tests flights, said Garcia. They can test it for five to six days and “can do with it what they want," so the VP.

By September the first airplane will be delivered to France; and by the end of 2015, the maximum building capability of 2.5 planes per month will be reached. According to Airbus, the tests are well going as planned.
Kuala Lumpur is the next bigger show where the A400M will be displayed.

According to Gustavo Garcia, this visit is a first step into the market of South America. Airbus is not expecting to sell any A400M this year, but they hope to sell 150 in the next 10 years and a total of 400 in the next 30 years. That would be 50% of the market.

Grizzly 2, one of the five development aircraft, arrived in Latin America on 23 March to perform high altitude flight tests at 
Cochabamba, Bolivia, where the airfield is located at 8,360ft above sea level. Flying from Cochabamba towards 
FIDAE, the A400M reached another milestone in its flight test programme: the 1000th flight. (Photo: Airbus)

New Customers?
Potential customers are all Armed Forces that are using a C-130 fleet. The advantage of the A400M is that it is a tactical as well as a strategic aircraft. As demonstrated today it only needs a very short airstrip for landing and take-off: 800m with the maximum payload of 25t. Furthermore it offers tanker capabilities.
The future holds an even longer range, more payload, and even a stretched version could be possible (these improvements will not be available for the first 300 planes). Airbus Military is sure they can satisfy all needs of the market.

The Airbus A400M lands at FIDAE in Santiago de Chile (Photo: Forkert)

For more information about this technology, please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY 3/2012 and more about the interview in the future issue of MILITARY TECHNOLOGY.


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